News Bites

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, boss of Berlin’s perennially unfinished airport BER, seeks to relax technical standards laid down by the TÜV testing organization to ensure the facility opens in October 2020. (RBB)

VW confirmed it was considering expanding its cooperation with Ford beyond the field of light commercial vehicles, without giving details. Handelsblatt reported two weeks ago the partnership could include electric and self-driving cars.

VW raised its investment budget for electric cars, self-driving technologies and new mobility services to €44 billion over the next five years to 2023, from €34 billion announced last year. The latter plan was for the years 2018-2022.

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess will also become head of the carmaker’s Chinese operations when current country boss Jochem Heizmann retires in January. Diess wants to take control of the business in China because it generates the most profit.

SAP defended its $8-billion purchase of Qualtrics, saying the US software company was a good fit and its technology offered broad application.

Berlin asked for the removal of three judges presiding over a €4.4 billion claim from Swedish utility Vattenfall, which is demanding compensation for Germany’s 2011 decision to shut down nuclear power plants. If successful, the case will face years of delay as the new judges read up on the matter.

German telecoms operators will not have to provide a nationwide high-speed 5G cellphone network, but can gradually build up a grid, the federal telecoms authority decided. The firms will, however, have to reduce the number of dead zones for G4 reception.

Schenker, Deutsche Bahn’s logistics arm, will overhaul its board, nominating the American Xavier Garijo, Dutchman Christian Drenthen and sea-freight expert Thorsten Meincke as new executives. Ewald Kaiser, in charge of freight management, will resign, but the CEO and three others will keep their jobs.

Ford is open to investors in its self-driving car business, but expanding a partnership with VW would be a “delicate dance,” Ford boss Jim Hackett said. The carmakers agreed in June to jointly develop light commercial vehicles, such as pickups. (Reuters)

More than 30 international companies, from Allianz to BlackRock to Calpers, have agreed to report additional information about employees, trust and the social value of corporate activities. They want to focus on goals that benefit capitalism and society in the long run, instead of aiming just for short-term profit targets.

All the German news. Once a day. In your inbox. Sign up for our News Bites newsletter here and stay auf dem Laufenden, but in English.

Change Management

VW boss wants to make history as well as cars

In the next five years, Herbert Diess must revolutionize Volkswagen, making it a leaner, cleaner, technology-focused company. If he fails, it could spell disaster for the car industry, and maybe the entire German economy.

Drone rangers

German billionaire invests in drone-defense startup

Dedrone is a warning system to help airports, oil refineries and smart cities protect their airspace from menacing drones.

A new spark

VW revamps production for the electric age

The world's biggest carmaker plans to make rechargeable vehicles at three German factories, snubbing the technology that spawned Dieselgate. One plant will churn out models half the price of a Tesla.

Delivery Service

Germany’s Eatclever seeking funds for foreign expansion

Eatclever, a food delivery startup specializing in soups, wraps and noodle dishes, wants to find new investors to help it go international in a fast-growing market.

Merger Vindicated?

Monsanto boosts Bayer profit even as legal risk mounts

Lawsuits against the glyphosate-based Roundup are multiplying but that hasn't impacted sales of the weedkiller.

SME Power

Mittelstand

Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Germany's economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index.

Intellectual property

Patent, trademark protection for German firms at risk in no-deal Brexit

Europe-wide protections for trademarks and design, as well as patent extensions, would no longer apply in Britain if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Two worlds meet

Germany’s family-run companies turn venture capitalists, fund startups

The Mittelstand is investing in German startups in the hopes of learning from its younger, more nimble peers. Meanwhile, the startups are hoping to tap the Mittelstand's deep pockets.

Bucking the trend

Germany’s Infineon forsakes China, to spend billions in Austria

Ignoring lucrative subsidies, Infineon chose Austria over China as the location to build a new €1.6 billion chip factory. The decision is partially motivated by fears about intellectual property theft.

M&A

SAP buying Qualtrics to face off against Salesforce

German software maker SAP surprised investors with the high-priced, $8 billion acquisition to help clients improve their relationships with their own customers.

Winds of change

Streamlining Europe’s truck fleets to meet CO2 targets

EU freight transport will become a lot greener as tractor-trailer makers bone up on aerodynamics. Now that Brussels has weighed in with new emissions limits, the Germans are getting with the program.

Tangled web

Israeli police refer bribery charges in ThyssenKrupp submarine deal to prosecutors

Police allege six suspects are guilty of money laundering and bribery, after a two-year investigation. The charges are based in part on the testimony of a company middleman.

German Go-Getter

Siemens’ strategic success outshines troubled GE

While Siemens is enjoying strategic success, its American rival GE is mired in problems. But the gas turbine business remains an expensive headache for both companies.

promises, promises

German business draws back from China as skepticism grows

After a decade of disappointments and broken promises, German executives are wary of Chinese ambitions.

Gearing Up

Germany’s chemical firms braced for a toxic 2019

The good times are over in the country's heavyweight chemical sector, due to a dangerous cocktail of weakening demand in key markets and rising raw materials prices.

combat air system, fcas

Wings clipped

Future dims for Franco-German combat air system as companies squabble

The ambitious project for a fighter jet and weapons systems can’t get off the ground. Contractors are maneuvering for the lead role while Germans are wary of French dominance.

amazon dominance german retail

E-commerce

How Amazon is steamrolling Germany’s retail market

New research on Amazon's growth in Germany is fueling concerns that it's muscling independent retailers out of the market, changing the sector forever.

Hedging bets

German companies favored Trump party in midterm election donations

BASF, Telekom, Siemens, SAP were among the 17 firms contributing to PACs in the most expensive midterm election ever.

Mop-up operation

ThyssenKrupp executives resign as new CEO consolidates power

New boss Guido Kerkhoff flexes his muscles and ousts two top managers, including the head of the elevator business, who had eyed the top himself and was secretly working on an IPO plan.

switzerland beer market

peak brew

Getting a taste for Switzerland’s record-breaking beer market

Switzerland holds the global record for most breweries per capita, thanks to a liberalized market and the craft beer trend. It's clearly time to head to the Swiss hills for beers of bacon, pine or hemp.

Corporate restructuring

ThyssenKrupp CEO Guido Kerkhoff may get a splitting headache

The new boss of ThyssenKrupp, Guido Kerkhoff, was not the company’s first choice. Now he must show real leadership if he is not to fall victim to the company’s toxic internal politics.

canada marijuana industry germany cannabis

High times

Canadian companies lighting up the German cannabis market

With their domestic market blazing, Canadian cannabis companies see high growth potential in Europe, where medical marijuana patients may top 5 million.

Bureaucracy rampant

Business is big in Germany, but not easy, World Bank says

Weighed down by bureaucratic hurdles, Europe’s largest economy lost four places and ranks 24th — just above Azerbaijan — in a World Bank rating on the ease of doing business.

Transforming carmakers

VW, Ford mull wide-ranging partnership in e-mobility, autonomous driving

Longtime rivals Ford and VW are considering joining forces to stay on top of massive investments in future technologies.

not guilty

BMW holding out and holding up EU cartel probe

While maintaining its innocence, the luxury carmaker is reluctant to act as a witness in an industry-wide antitrust case. The company's stance could expose it to stiff fines.

Trump of the Tropics

German business unfazed by Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s election of the fringe, far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro means business as usual for German companies.

Closer connections

Carmakers want their own 5G networks

Superfast 5G networks will be a key part of the self-driving revolution, both on the roads and in factories. But automakers don’t trust telecom providers to deliver them, so want to build their own local infrastructure.

5g readiness germany

Connectivity

Is Germany actually ahead of the game on 5G?

While politicians are wringing their hands about 5G, the telecoms industry is raring to get started. Germany's spectrum auction may bring in up to €5 billion next year.

Flying high

Lufthansa considers trimming service units to focus on airlines

Germany’s flagship airline Lufthansa may spin off its catering and maintenance units as margins improve in passenger and freight transport.

Zetsche’s legacy

Daimler’s quarterly results confirm downward spiral for maker of Mercedes cars

Unit sales are sliding and Dieselgate costs are squeezing margins at Daimler, disrupting cash flow and making the transition to a new era even tougher.

Chips are up

Infineon rides the e-car boom

Germany’s biggest chipmaker expects a big rise in revenue from specialized semiconductors used in electric cars and the renewable power sector. It’s building a new factory to cope with surging demand.

Hire calling

Daimler, Geely announce luxury car-sharing service

The maker of Mercedes cars will launch the joint venture with its biggest shareholder in China next year.

CEO Winterkorn's role

Court orders VW parent to pay investors, signals Dieselgate precedent

Porsche SE, the holding controlling Volkswagen, violated shareholder disclosure laws and must pay €47 million to investors for not informing them soon enough about the emissions fraud. It may be a landmark ruling.

Or login with Facebook

German startups aim to challenge Facebook and Google on logins

NetID and Verimi seek to provide passkey login services and reap user data. Backers range from United Internet to Axel Springer.

Killer ruling

Bayer feels the pain of Monsanto takeover after US Roundup ruling

The drug maker’s plunge on the US market keeps causing headaches, triggering a 10-percent stock slump. A US judge did not annul a verdict that the weedkiller Roundup, inherited in the Monsanto takeover, causes cancer.

future investment initiative conference, saudi arabia

Arabian angst

Kaeser cancels Saudi trip despite Siemens’ ties to conference

The CEO's last-minute decision shows the dilemma facing German companies, bidding for billions in contracts while disturbed by Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

linde praxair merger

Condensation

US approves $80 billion Linde-Praxair merger

The substantial divestitures required of Linde and Praxair by the FTC are also a major win for the German rival Messer Group.

Last ride?

Doubts about Dr. Z and Daimler’s chairman succession plan

After two profit warnings in four months’ time, investors are questioning whether Dieter Zetsche, the boss of the Mercedes-Benz maker, should still become chairman in 2021.

how much german ceos earn

CEO salaries

How much German bosses really earn

Why it is better to be a male executive in the chemicals industry in Germany than a female manager in any business? A study exclusive to Handelsblatt reveals how much German leaders earn.